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American-Russian Volunteer Initiative launched

MOSCOW. Nov 9 (Interfax) - A group of 50 volunteers from Russia and the U.S. has been formed under an American-Russian Volunteer Initiative project, U.S. Ambassador to Russia Alexander Vershbow told journalists on Tuesday.

He said this initiative is being implemented in line with the agreements reached by Russian and U.S. presidents Vladimir Putin and George W. Bush in September, 2003, including an agreement to broaden partnership in tackling global problems.

Vershbow said that 50 young people from Russia and the U.S. will implement projects to combat HIV, to promote IT programs and to protect the cultural heritage.

He said in remarks about the difference between the new initiative and the Peace Corps organization, which operated in Russia in the 1990s but ceased to exist, that the concepts of the two organizations are different in many ways. The main difference is, said Vershbow, that the new project is a mutual program and volunteers will travel in two directions. He said this reflects more mature relations, as compared to the mid 1990s when the Peace Corps arrived in Russia.